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A 2010 promotional shot of Oprah Winfrey for the Oprah Winfrey Network. - Provided courtesy of Discovery

Oprah Winfrey 'grateful' fans came to watch OWN

Get more: Oprah Winfrey
01/07/2011 by Kristina Lopez

Despite years of success on television, Oprah admitted she was anxious about starting her new network. However, after its debut drew solid ratings numbers, the daytime talk show Queen told reports she was "grateful" fans tuned in.

"I'm grateful we weren't embarrassed," Oprah said at the Television Critics Association press tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm grateful people came. Obviously, ratings are important. But they're not as important to me as they are to you."

In an earlier interview with Parade magazine, Oprah admitted she was not sure if her latest business venture was going to be successful.

"First it was, 'Wowee, omigosh, a network!' And then it was, 'What in the world have I done?' and, 'Can I really do this,'" Winfrey said.

The network debuted on January 1 with a one-hour preview special hosted by Winfrey. OWN replaced the Discovery Health network and is available in more than 80 million homes, according to the Associated Press. The network was first announced three years ago as a venture between Winfrey's HARPO production company and Discovery Communications.

OWN averaged one million viewers on its January 1 premiere date and has sustained strong numbers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The network also has "consistently doubled the ratings of Discovery Health," said Christina Norman, CEO of OWN.

"I think we're going to have some perhaps rocky times with the channel," Winfrey said. "Keeping people there and keeping people motivated to keep watching, keeping them engaged."

She adds, "We know that if we continue to build the channel with programs that are meaningful to our viewers ... and operating from the point of view of, how are we going to serve [the audience], I think we'll be more than all right. You serve them and they will come."

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